Kris Schaff caps early-year comeback by winning Vegas Shoot

Kris Schaff celebrating his Vegas Shoot win in 2023.

Kris Schaff beat former champion Kyle Douglas in the seventh end of the main event shootdown to win the 2023 Vegas Shoot and collect more than 100,000 USD in prize winnings including contingency.

It was all over with Douglas’ penultimate arrow, which landed high and right in the top spot of the triangular triple.

Schaff, shooting first in the down-the-line rotation now in use for Vegas Shootdowns, drilled a final 10 and turned around to hug renowned recurve archer Brady Ellison, standing metres behind and outside the field of play to offer words of encouragement.

“I’ve wanted this ever since I was little,” said the 30-year-old, a former Hyundai Archery World Cup and Indoor Archery World Series Champion, from inside the field of play.

“I’ve shot a ton of arrows this year and it’s paid off.”

Schaff was ranked in the top 10 in the world from late 2018 until early 2022 but his last significant run of results came at the start of that period.

In the last month, he’s won two majors – the Sud de France Archery Tournament in Nimes and now this weekend’s Vegas Shoot. Should this run of form continue, he’s certainly a name to watch heading into the rest of 2023.

Schaff’s previous best result in Vegas was second in 2018.

Twenty-six men began the compound open championship shootdown. (The main event in Vegas is open to both men and women, although there is also a compound women’s championship event, too.)

Jonathan Scott (USA), Dane Johnson (USA), JP Boulch (France), Federico Pagnoni (Italy), reigning World Archery Champion Nico Wiener (Austria), Tim Jevsnik (Slovenia), Tim Hanley (USA), former World Archery Champion James Lutz (USA), Mathias Fullerton (Denmark), Drew Hortman (USA), Christian Clark (USA), Zachary Plonsky (USA), two-time Vegas Champion Kyle Douglas (USA), Jacob Marlow (USA), reigning Vegas Champion Bodie Turner (USA), former World Archery Champion Stephan Hansen (Denmark), multiple Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion Braden Gellenthien (USA), indoor and outdoor circuit winner Kris Schaff (USA), Richard Bowen (USA), former World Archery Champion Chris Perkins (Canada), Robert Householder (USA), Jeff Raney (USA), Pan Am Games Champion Roberto Hernandez (El Salvador), Quentin Baraer (France) and Angus Moss (USA) comprised the list of 25 who shot perfect 900s.

Remington Boyer (USA) won the lucky dog, the sudden-death closest-to-the-middle eliminator between all the archers who dropped one point on the weekend, with the prize being the final ticket to the shootdown.

It took four ends to cut the field of 26 down to just four: Jevsnik, Fullerton, Douglas and Schaff. (Reigning champion Turner was dropped in the fourth.) In the fifth, Jevsnik and Fullerton both shot nines. The former archer, from Slovenia, would ultimately win the third-place tiebreak.

Down to two, it took just six more arrows in the high-pressure arena, which was packed with its biggest-ever crowd, to separate the pair and for Schaff to claim victory.

Douglas collected his second second-place finish on the weekend, having finished runner-up in the Indoor Archery World Series Finals – to Bodie Turner – last night. 

The unique competition at the Vegas Shoot sees archers shoot 30 arrows a day over three days. (And compound archers use the big, recurve 10-ring.) Any archers tied for the lead after 90 arrows enter a shootdown to determine the winner.

At this year’s tournament, only one other shootdown for first was required – in the compound women’s championship event.

After Linda Ochoa-Anderson and Liko Arreola dropped points on the third day of competition, just Paige Pearce and Tanja Gellenthien finished the bulk of the tournament with perfect scores of 900 points, earning a return to the arena.

(The pair comprised two-thirds of the shootdown last year, alongside winner Arreola.)

A big low nine with her last arrow of the second end saw Pearce shake her head, then stand back and watch Gellenthien drill a small 10 and win her second Vegas Shoot after 2017.

“I don’t think I have any words for how I’m feeling right now,” she said. “I saw that she had missed and I was very nervous but I just tried to stay calm and shoot how I’d been doing all weekend.”

More than 3900 archers competed in this year’s biggest-ever Vegas Shoot at the South Point Hotel and Casino.

Winners: 2023 Vegas Shoot

Categories eligible for the Indoor Archery World Series are listed only. Full results for the championship and amateur categories are available via the Vegas Shoot website.